Hello everyone! As a writer, I know its important to read a lot in order to grow in the craft. Read for enjoyment, grow as a writer, right? Yes, but I also believe that simply reading to be a better writer can be taken one step further by studying a novel that embodies a well-written, enjoyable tale. By doing this, you’re being mindful about techniques that work, enabling you to apply it to your own craft. But what works?
That is going to depend on personal choice. Once you find a book that you not only love, but has exemplary writing, too, you can either read or listen to specific parts, focusing on specific elements as you go. Dialogue? Action? Pacing? You name it.
Join me as I begin a novel study.
Below are 4 steps I’ll be taking to grow myself as a writer, focusing on areas I struggle with or just want to improve.
Pick a book. While it can be argued that we can learn from books that do and don’t work, I specifically want a book that works, that wows.
Think of it as learning from a master. Maybe that master for you is Neil Gaiman, George R.R. Martin, or Marie Lu. You pick a book that makes your heart sing.
Pick your area of study. Examples include dialogue, dialogue tags, description, length of paragraphs, action, pacing, plot, character development, transitions, voice, etc.
For me, I want to focus on the craft of conveying my story more smoothly. I’m picking transitions.
There are three ways you can study transitions. What you are doing is being mindful about your craft.
- You can start reading a novel from scratch – but be careful, lest you get caught up in it and forget/overlook important examples of your area of study.
- Pick a novel you’ve already read, and read from the beginning, being mindful as you read.
- Read from a novel you have OR haven’t read, skimming for various passages that exemplify what you want to learn.
I am using choice #1. I’m currently reading, “A Court of Mist and Fury,” by Sarah J. Maas, ch. 49. She uses vivid detail without overly describing. It just flows.
As you read and find examples of how to transition well, effortlessly, (or whichever skill you choose) pause and reflect on how it was done. If it helps, you can jot down your notes.
Then try it in your novel or writing.
And that’s it! As you grow, continue changing your area of inquiry. And yes, you can work on more than one at a time, too!
Good luck, and happy writing!